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Zareh Sinanyan's election war chest grows

Fundraising success indicates that political spending remains strong.

March 26, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • Zareh Sinanyan, 2013 city council candidate.
Zareh Sinanyan, 2013 city council candidate. (Courtesy of Zareh…)

Zareh Sinanyan — the City Council candidate at the center of this election season's biggest controversy so far — has also amassed the largest campaign war chest, with $70,065 on hand, according to the most recent financial disclosure filings.

“The money is just flowing in,” Sinanyan said. “People are overwhelmingly supporting me.”

Contributions for the April 2 election continued despite a request by some council members earlier this month to remove Sinanyan from his city commission seat because of vulgar and threatening comments that were posted under his name on YouTube and other websites.

The candidate received 28 contributions totaling $9,400 after the public brouhaha, according to financial disclosures filed with the City Clerk's Office March 21.

Sinanyan kept his seat on the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee because some City Council members said there wasn't enough evidence to prove he wrote the comments.

Sinanyan has not denied posting the comments, many of which are directed at Armenia's geopolitical enemies, saying only that they do not reflect his values.

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The next most successful fundraiser in the council race is incumbent Ara Najarian, who has $64,375 — much more than the $45,013 he collected through the second filing period in 2009, the last time he ran for re-election.

The large hauls indicate that despite the city's campaign reform ordinance in 2008, which limited individual contributions to $1,000, election spending remains strong.

But large campaign war chests do not necessarily guarantee electoral success. Councilman Rafi Manoukian lost re-election in 2007 even after raising $171,080 as of the second filing period that year.

Najarian said if he is elected again, he will push for a fundraising cap of $40,000.

“It's out of hand,” he said. “It's not necessary.”

Councilwoman Laura Friedman rounded out the top three with $46,312. Herbert Molano has $32,700, although $30,000 of that came in the form of a self-made loan. Sinanyan and Najarian also lent themselves $750 and $2,500, respectively.

The remaining eight candidates for three seats on the dais raised a total of less than $25,000.

Aram Kazazian, for instance, is far behind what he took in during the same filing period for his candidacy in 2009, when he raised $60,231. Kazazian, an architect, has raised just $5,499 so far this year.

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